Get to Know Australia’s Wine-Grape Gins
Love gin? Love wine? Enjoy them both at the same time!
Here in Australia, we’re blessed to have a world class wine industry, and a burgeoning craft distilling movement – but what happens when the two collide? The result is grape-infused gin, a truly Aussie innovation that created a new gin category which now enjoys global popularity. In this blog, we’re going talk through some of our favourite grape-infused gins – a few of which you may have heard of, while others will likely be new discoveries – and explain the processes behind them.
First things first, we should make a couple of things clear. The gins we are discussing are, in the most part, not distilled from grapes or with grapes. You’ll notice immediately that each of these gins has a distinct colour. Contrary to popular belief, this is not due to grapes being added during distillation - you cannot distil colour. Also – these gins have not been blended with wine, that would make them a little too dry and acidic for the desired style. Instead, distillers have used the fresh juice from popular wine grapes, or infused the grapes with the spirit, creating this markedly fruity style.
So without further ado, let’s get into some of this ripper juice.
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin
As Lewis Carroll once wrote: “Begin at the beginning” – and we will. Victorian distillery Four Pillars were the first distillery to pioneer the wine grape style, combining the flavour of their signature Rare Dry gin (made with a selection of Asian botanicals, classic gin ingredients and Aussie natives) with cool-climate Yarra valley Shiraz grapes. The result was Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz!
For this gin, the grapes are macerated with the gin for 8 weeks, being stored in cold tanks and stirred daily. After infusing, the fruit is pressed, then blended with more gin before being bottled without filtration. The final product is a fruity, fragrant gin with notes of blackcurrant, blackberries, jammy grapes, and earthy, rooty spice.
As this is a natural product containing grape juice, it will gradually change in character with time – much like a fine wine. Four Pillars do, however, recommend drinking this drop within 2 years of purchase.
Originally, this gin was created as a one-off limited edition back in 2015, but its popularity ensured that it made its way into Four Pillars standard range. Each bottling is currently presented as a vintage, with slight year on year variations as the grape harvest is subtly different. Treat yourself to a bottle here.
Forty Spotted Pinot Noir Gin
Forty Spotted is the gin-producing wing of Lark Distillery. Lark are no strangers to innovation, having effectively kick-started the Australian whisky business when they became the first new distillery in Tasmania since 1839. It comes as no surprise then, that they have jumped aboard the craze for grape infused gins with this delectable bottling.
Forty Spotted’s Pinot Noir (dare we say… Ginot?) combines the distillery’s juniper and Tasmanian pepper berry flavoured gin with the juice of the celebrated, sophisticated Tasmanian Pinot Noir grape.
The result? A luscious, sweet and subtly spiced gin, with flavours of stewed plums, grapes and raspberries, alongside juniper and peppery, fruity spice.
Try it for yourself here.
Two Accents Shiraz Gin
Two Accents gin hails from McLaren Vale – a wine region of world renown. It made sense then, that they decided to marry their pot-still gin (flavoured with local botanicals) with McLaren Vale Shiraz grapes.
The grape crop for this bottling has been specially selected from vines that are over 100 years old. This bottling has a lighter Shiraz influence than the Four Pillars equivalent, with a clear colour and a restrained wine tannin effect on the completed gin – which is soft, luscious and richly fruited – with an unmistakable cranberry flavour.
Seppeltsfield Road Distillers Barossa Shiraz
Seppeltsfield Road Barossa Shiraz is the third Shiraz grape infused gin in our selection, and radically different to its forerunners. This bottling doubles up the grape influence, with a base of Seppeltsfield Road’s grape spirit gin. This gin is flavoured with local botanicals where possible, before being infused with big, bold Barossa Valley Shiraz grapes.
This is a gin that does not hold back on the grape flavour, with incredibly rich flavours of black cherries, raspberries, prunes, red grape tannins, pine-like juniper, black tea, cinnamon spice, and chopped herbs.
Just as intense as you would imagine from one of Australia’s most strongly flavoured wine styles. Pick up a bottle here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to one of Australia’s genuine and lasting contributions to the world of spirits. The popularity of grape-infused gins is constantly increasing, with new bottles hitting the shelves every week. Be sure to keep up with new releases on the Gin Loot store.